Non-Communicable Diseases



What is disability?
Disability means a complete or partial impotence, either permanently or for a long time, in one of the physical, sensory, mental, communicative, intellectual, or psychological abilities. It causes the person to be unable to meet the regular daily requirements of his life and depend on others or a tool that requires special training or qualifications, to have them met.

Types of disabilities: 
Visual impairment, hearing impairment, mental disability, physical and motor disability, learning difficulties, speech disorders, behavioral and emotional disorders, autism, double and multiple disabilities, and other disabilities that require special care.
The severity and curability of each disability varies from a person to another.

Basic facts about disability in the world: 
  • There are more than one billion patients suffering from some form of disability, representing 15% of the world's population.
  • The incidence of disability is increasing in the world. This is the result of aging and some chronic diseases and their complications.
  • The number of people with disabilities tends to be higher among those with low incomes.
  • Half of people with disabilities do not have access to quality medical care.
  • Children with disabilities are less likely to enroll in school, compared to healthy children, and thus have less chances of getting a job.
  • Individuals with disabilities suffer from difficult living conditions such as malnutrition, housing, and sanitation.
  • There is a shortage in the number of rehabilitation centers for disabled individuals and a scarcity in the availability of the assistive devices needed by the disabled, such as wheelchairs, prosthetics, and hearing aids.
  • The disabled can contribute to the advancement of their communities and play effective roles.
Nutrition and disability:

  • Providing proper nutrition for a disabled person involves assessing his nutritional status and physical and energy needs.
  • It helps improve his health and boost his immunity and resistance to diseases.
  • It helps with early prevention of malnutrition problems such as anemia, obesity or thinness.
  • It compensates for the lack of some nutrients caused by taking some medications for a long time, or other problems such as constipation and vomiting.
  • It helps with the development of manual motor skills by training the disabled person to eat by himself.
  • It helps with the development of the behavior of disabled children and strengthens their connection with their communities.
Factors that affect the nutrition of the disabled 
  • Physical problems and abnormalities such as problems with oral movement and jaw clenching, in addition to the inability to swallow or chew. Other problems include the digestive system being unable to properly feed the person’s body.
  • Some medicines suppress or increase the appetite, while others reduce the absorption of important nutrients such as iron. Other health problems these medicines can cause include vomiting, constipation and allergies.
  • Isolating a disabled child from people around him negatively affects his nutrition and psyche. Moreover, the parents' ignorance or the mother’s absence can have the same negative impact on the disabled child.
  • The difficulty of predicting the development and growth of a disabled child makes estimating his nutritional needs difficult.
  • The nutritional needs of disabled people are the same as those of healthy people. There is no special or specific nutrition for a disabled person. Rather, his need for nutrients decreases or increases according to his health condition, the severity of disability, and level of development.
  • A comparison between a normal child and a disabled child in terms of growth, development, and nutritional and health condition should be based on height, not age.
  • Each disabled person should be treated on an individual basis, as each has his or her condition that differs from others in the same age group.
  • Keep in mind that the development, growth, and response of a disabled child is slower than that of a healthy person.
The importance of involving the disabled in development:
People with disabilities face many challenges in their communities. This group remains largely marginalized, and they are often exposed to basic and complex problems, including poverty, unemployment, and the inability to solve health problems. This leads to higher mortality rates. Furthermore, this group is largely excluded from development projects in their communities, both civil and political.

Participation experiments: 
The experiments show that when persons with disabilities are empowered to participate and lead in practical development projects, the benefits pervades the entire community. Their participation creates opportunities for everyone, including other persons with disabilities and their local communities, to advance the development agenda. Hence, it is imperative that societies integrate their disabled individuals in development, as a strategy to achieve equality for all citizens. 
 The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and human rights treaties aim to reinforce efforts to ensure the inclusion of the disabled in all aspects of development, as well as promote policies involving implementation of internationally agreed development goals. These include the new millennium goals, and "A society for All” in the 21st century.

The Kingdom’s regulations have established comprehensive rights for this segment of society. It has provided them with the means of support necessary to attain their rights. The aim of that is to ensure they get a decent life and be integrated into all sectors of society through rehabilitation and health care. It has facilitated all means to help them live with their families, as well as provided them with free subsidies and facilities that take into account their needs and give them top priority in all government sectors. 

What fields involving rehabilitation and disability can people with disabilities contribute to?
  • Awareness: People with disabilities can raise awareness of their rights, needs, potential and contributions in their communities.
  • Medical care: the government must provide job opportunities in the field of medical care for the disabled, or partake in developing proper strategies for them.
  • Rehabilitation: they can participate in providing rehabilitation services for the disabled; to motivate them reach and maintain an optimal level of independence and performance.

Obstacles that prevent the disabled from obtaining their rights:
Many disabled people continue to suffer from marginalization, and, more often than not, it’s due to social reasons. The top reason is the lack of awareness of their family members of their rights, especially health rights. This is usually the result  of several things, including not understanding the nature of the disability and having fears or shame towards it, or being poor. Families are often unaware of the correct ways to deal with this situation and don't realize the specific role of health facilities in this regard.

Repercussions of the non-participation of disabled individuals in development plans: 
  • Denying them participation increases the degree and severity of their disabilities.
  • Turning disabled persons into marginalized and ineffective members of their communities leads to a deterioration in their conditions.
  • Marginalizing disabled people causes aggression or introversion.
  • Disabled people know best about their own needs, and not allowing them to participate in their ::communities hinders disability prevention and treatment plans.
  • Marginalizing disabled people increases levels of unemployment and poverty.

What does it mean to facilitate electronic means use for the disabled?

The use of information and communication technology has become an essential part of the economic, educational and social life of many people; therefore, it is essential that all websites are accessible to the disabled. Like others around them, they must have access to information.

Electronic means and information and communication technology, like the internet, can be accessible to disabled individuals by: designing websites in a way that enables their disabled users to obtain the information contained therein. Examples:
  • To make matters easier for the blind, it is crucial to include programs that support interpretation of website contents. This can happen through an option to read texts out loud for users and explain images that exist on these websites.
  • People with vision impairment must be allowed to modify the size of the letters and change the colors of a website to a large extent.
  • Deaf people or those with hearing impairments must have transcripts attached to audio contents. 
  • Including a sign language interpreter in a video stream can help improve the availability of content for that group.

Why is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities important?
People with disabilities are often deprived of work and study opportunities and full participation in society. This is detrimental to their energies and well-being. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is an important agreement in this regard. It is a tool that ensures that this segment of people gets the same rights and opportunities as other groups. There are nearly one billion people with disabilities around the world, and they are the poorest, and most vulnerable to discrimination.

The aforementioned convention is one of the human right treaties designed by representatives of the world countries, which includes persons with disabilities, government officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and others. It was designed with the aim of changing the way people view those with disabilities and how they are treated.

The convention urges people all over the world to understand disability and consider it a human rights issue, rather than just a medical issue, a favor, or a matter of reliance on others. It covers many areas where obstacles can arise, such as entering buildings, using roads and transportation, and obtaining information through written and electronic communication means. It also aims to reduce all forms of discrimination, which often deny the disabled people access to education, employment, health services and more.

Now, for the first time, there is an international legally binding bill to ensure that countries that ratified the treaty promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Moreover, these countries are trying to develop their own national civil rights legislations to improve the lives of the disabled.

  • Involving disabled persons in their communities has the greatest impact on their physical and psychological health and advancement. It presents them as active, independent members of society, rather than dependent individuals. 
  • Material and moral support must be provided to the disabled on an equal footing. 
  • States should ensure the development and provision of support services to people with disabilities, including assistive devices and technologies; to help them become more independent in their daily lives.
  • Employee Training: Trainers and training opportunities for employees must be provided on all levels, as well as planning and providing programs and services for the disabled.

Last Update : 09 December 2020 11:15 AM
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